Alfreda is the rising chic-pop singer reimagining traditional burlesque

HUNGER sits down with the musician following the release of her latest alluring single, ‘Lipstick’.

Valentine’s Day is just as much about the music as it is about your loved ones. Besides, is a candle-lit dinner really all that romantic with your significant other if it’s not backed by a swooning score? With that in mind, rising chic-pop singer Alfreda has returned with her seductive new single, ‘Lipstick’, which arrives as part of her upcoming project, Mother’s Makeup. The track was recorded in one take live, backed by a carefully curated session band, providing a lush 60s-inspired instrumental for Alfreda to lay down her tantalising vocals. Lyrically, the singer questions whether she needs romantic love to truly be happy or if those feelings are simply a byproduct of societal pressure placed on women. “I was drawn to the glamorous old Hollywood tone,” Alfreda says of the song. “The women’s goal in these movies tends to be love and finding their home in another man – this song is written from the perspective of someone who grew up wholeheartedly believing these ideals, and then starts to question them.” 

The UK native began making music in her final year of school after realising she had no greater passion for anything other than a career in the arts. Taking inspiration from the likes of Radiohead, Madonna, David Bowie, and Gorillaz, the singer would go on to release her debut EP before doing the rounds on London’s underground live music circuit. Now, Alfreda is hoping to bring her classic burlesque with a contemporary spin to the masses and is holding a cabaret-inspired residency at the Camden members club House of KOKO, with her next sold-out ‘Bedroom Tales’ event taking place tonight (February 14th).

Here, we sit down with Alfreda to discuss the inspiration behind ‘Lipstick’, discovering her passion for music, and her love for Britney Spears.

Image Credit: Robin Hunter Blake

Congrats on your new single, ‘Lipstick’! Where did the inspiration for that track come from?

I was listening to the ‘You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You’ recording by Dean Martin, and it inspired me to explore a more literal interpretation of that sentiment. That, along with various old Hollywood musicals, inspired the whole concept for the upcoming EP Mother’s Makeup.

Could you define your sound in five words?

Nostalgic but modern, chic, earworm alt-pop.

What’s your earliest musical memory? Was there anything in particular that made you fall in love with it?

Discovering the ‘Deeper Vocals’ vocal effect on Garageband and creating an entire rap personality around it when I was 9.

When did you realise music was something you’d like to pursue as a career?

After singing for the first time at a school concert when I was 12. It was the moment that I discovered for the first time that I had an identity amongst people who hadn’t ever noticed me before.

When it comes to songwriting? Do you find it easier to write about your personal experiences, for example?

Yes, but I also like to come up with made-up stories that suit my alter ego. I will think of a scenario my character is likely to end up in and then draw from personal experience and get creative with it.

How would you describe your creative process right now?

I am currently writing Mother’s Makeup Part Two, so I’m pretty deep in this character, who is pretty melodramatic and tragic. I’m Writing a lot more emotive songs, less comical.

Image Credit: Stanley Dunmore

What artist had the biggest effect on you as a teen? Adolescence can be a pivotal moment when it comes to defining our music tastes…

Britney Spears! I studied every single song and music video when I was a child. It was an unhealthy obsession.

If you could only listen to three artists for the rest of your life, who would they be?

I like anything by Thom Yorke, The Strokes, and Joni Mitchell.

What musical genres did you always find the most inspiring?

Musical theatre, electronic, and jazz were always my favourites and inspired a lot of the music I make today.

What do you do when you’re stuck in a songwriting rut?

Generally, I’ll decide to do something a bit mad and crazy in my life that tends to do the trick.

What’s a song in your playlist that nobody would expect right now?

‘Pump Up The Jam’ by Technotronic.

What can we expect from you for the rest of the year?

Lots of music! And a louder social media presence.

What’s the goal for you in music?

To build a solid fanbase and then write a successful musical with my co-writer George Petrie.

WriterChris Saunders
Banner Image CreditStanley Dunmore